Archive for October 12, 2009

Review: Kiss – Sonic Boom [2009]

Posted in Kiss with tags on October 12, 2009 by gearsofrock

Amazon KissKiss offers a heavy rocking release, the first since 1998’s mediocre Psycho Circus, titled Sonic Boom. Without Ace Frehley and Peter Criss in Kiss, it is very difficult to love and enjoy the band like the early days.  But putting that prejudice aside, Sonic Boom undeniably contains powerful rock tracks that only Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons can orchestrate.

Stepping in for Frehley and Criss on guitars and drums are Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer respectively. The final product is a sound that leans more to the mid-80’s than the mid-70’s. “Modern Day Delilah,” the first single and album highlight, is fueled by Stanley’s relentless vocal performance, rock and roll screams and all.

The guitar riffs on most of the tracks are intoxicating particularly in the beginning of the record, but far from groundbreaking. By the fifth track, the 80’s presence begins a mild takeover in direction; an infectious takeover that forces an uncontrollable singalong, similar to “God Gave Rock and Roll To You Part II” and the dining scene of Beetlejuice.  Simmons’ bass chops on “Hot and Cold” are impressive and demonizing on “I’m an Animal,” but his lead vocal tracks on “Yes I Know” and “Russian Roulette” are very weak against the backdrop that Stanley establishes earlier.

While Sonic Boom lacks the raw and rebellious feel of the original lineup’s classics, the polished riffs and choral hooks make for a good hard rock album. My prescription for a great Kiss album: take one Frehley, one Criss, and call Rick Rubin in the morning –Meds

3 StarsKiss is Paul Stanley (Vocals/Guitars), Tommy Thayer (Guitars/Vocals), Gene Simmons (Bass/Vocals), & Eric Singer (Drums/Vocals).

Track Listing:

  1. “Modern Day Delilah”
  2. “Russian Roulette”
  3. “Never Enough”
  4. “Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)”
  5. “Stand”
  6. “Hot and Cold”
  7. “All for the Glory”
  8. “Danger Us”
  9. “I’m an Animal”
  10. “When Lightning Strikes”
  11. “Say Yeah!”


Review: Lita Ford – Wicked Wonderland [2009]

Posted in Lita Ford with tags on October 12, 2009 by gearsofrock

Amazon Lita FordThe 80’s hard rock queen Lita Ford returns with her first new album in 14 years titled Wicked Wonderland. Unfortunately shoddy production techniques like muddy vocal mixes, buried lead guitar licks, and repetitive electronica-modeled drum loops hinder this album from shining in today’s hard rock market. Additionally, the lyrics serve up a stinky batch of stale French cheese to a degree scorned even by 80’s glam standards. It is difficult to point to a specific location of Wicked Wonderland that exhibit the aforementioned flaws because all 15 tracks employ them. However, the ballad “Sacred” comes the closest to resembling her classic sound rather than hiding her voice in ProTools gear. I was really hoping for Ford to deliver a triumphant return after her emotional appearance on the first episode of That Metal Show and her blazing duet with Dee Snider at last year’s Twisted Christmas on Broadway show. Maybe Scout Taylor-Compton’s portrayal of Ford in 2010’s The Runaways will assist her in returning to her punk and hard rock roots –Meds

1.5 StarsLita Ford is Lita Ford (Vocals/Guitar/Production), Jim Gilette (Vocals/Production), Greg Hampton (Production/Instruments), & Stet Howland (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Crave”
  2. “Piece (Hell Yeah)”
  3. “Patriotic S.O.B.”
  4. “Scream 4 Me”
  5. “Inside”
  6. “Wicked Wonderland”
  7. “Indulge”
  8. “Love”
  9. “Betrayal”
  10. “Sacred”
  11. “Truth”
  12. “Everything”
  13. “Bed”
  14. “Garden”
  15. “Push”


GOR recommends Anomaly by Ace Freheley and Endgame by Megadeth